Immunizations should be part of back to school checklist

As our adolescents prepare to return to school, it’s important that we remember that while buying new backpacks and school supplies, signing up for sports and after school activities, we also need to make sure our children’s immunizations are current.

So often we feel that something could never happen to us or our family. But some illnesses like influenza, the reality is quite different. Last flu season, nearly 400 Carolinians died from the illness. Nationwide, among children who died from flu, the large majority had not received a flu vaccine.

Vaccines are critical for protecting our teens from serious and sometimes deadly diseases.

North Carolina has seen its share of even rarer diseases that have had epidemic waves in our schools. Pertussis — commonly known as whooping cough – has had several outbreaks in North Carolina schools over the last five years. Its potency can also have deadly effects, especially for babies too young to be immunized who are exposed to whooping cough.

The NC Academy of Family Physicians is proud to partner with the NC Department of Health and Human Services and the NC Pediatric Society to support Adolescent Immunization Month. So, as you get your adolescents ready to return to school, take a moment to talk with your teen’s primary care physician. Keeping your child vaccinated could very well save their life.

Tamieka Howell, MD

President, NC Academy of Family Physicians

Scott St. Clair, MD

President, NC Pediatric Society